It’s been many years since I’ve felt the need to dust off the horns. Many years. I realize the Chicago Bulls have entered post-season play six out of the past seven years, but this is the first year I feel this team can bring a championship back to the Windy City.
But I’m well aware of the challenges. The Bulls are 1-5 in playoff series since capping off their Repeat 3-peat in 1998, but this team does have plenty of playoff experience. And while they don’t have the bling and ego of the 3-ring circus that is the Miami Heat, they do have Derrick Rose. Many would argue Rose is all the Bulls have, but with Deng, Boozer, Gibson, Korver, and Noah, I see options. Many options. No, there is no Pippen to compliment Rose, no Keeper of the Plain, as I used to call Scottie, but Derrick believes in his teammates. Even when the need arises for Rose to place an outcome of a game on his tattooed shoulders, it isn’t because he lacks confidence in his team, but the fact he knows by kicking it into gear he can create plays.
Sure, the highlight reels obscure this when all you see is Rose splitting the defense, zigzagging between three defenders, and hanging under the rim. But Rose is always looking as he penetrates the defense, collapsing it from all sides, and if a teammate is open they will get the ball. He is not Ben Gordon (thank the basketball Gods, and don’t get me started on that guy!).
All the way from Chicago, I feel the buzz. It’s there, like a humming in another room. Not yet a roar, not like the crowds in the late 80s at the old Chicago Stadium whenever Jordan took the ball into his hands, that almost slow-motion-to-your-feet-louder-and-louder until the rafters shred from the sound. Not yet.
But I’m keeping the faith, donning the horns and reminiscing. I even pulled out my red tub of Bulls stuff: t-shirts from all six championships, newspaper clippings, a Bulls lamp, Bulls mugs, a Jordan watch, a stuffed Bennie the Bull, an autographed hat, Bulls jerseys, and all the other stuff I can’t part with, not ever.
My hope is to buy a new tub, a bigger tub.
Let the playoffs begin.